Blog Archives

Dying to Be Beautiful: Deadly Cosmetics

by Eleanor Herman The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended

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Posted in Medieval History

Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy

by Daniel Kalder Since the days of the Roman Empire dictators have written books. But in the twentieth-century, despots enjoyed unprecedented print runs to (literally) captive audiences. The titans of the genre—Stalin, Mussolini, and Khomeini among them—produced theoretical works, spiritual

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Posted in Modern History

The Many Affairs of Crown Prince Rudolf

by Greg King and Penny Wilson On a snowy January morning in 1889, a worried servant hacked open a locked door at the remote hunting lodge deep in the Vienna Woods. Inside, he found two bodies sprawled on an ornate

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Posted in Modern History

Echoes of Mayerling: The Unlikely Career of Countess Marie Larisch

by Greg King and Penny Wilson By 1918, the Austro-Hungarian and the German Empires had collapsed into nothingness.  Imperial families were stripped of their titles and relegated to the status of citizen; their laws and traditions were wiped away and—absent

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Posted in Modern History

The Rise and Fall of the Viking Crusades

by John Haywood The Wendish Crusade In 1144, the crusaders lost the key city of Edessa in Syria to the Turks. Pope Eugenius III’s response to this setback was to call the Second Crusade, the first major crusading expedition to

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Posted in Medieval History

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